toddler with low iron

Discussion in 'Toddler & Pre-School' started by babyjiva, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. babyjiva

    babyjiva 1st baby

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    so my daughter got tested at her yearly physical and her iron levels came back very low. this is for several different reasons so none of us were shocked.
    1st she has allergies to grains and can't eat most iron fortified cereals
    2nd we're vegetarians
    3rd she has a dairy allergy so is not on iron fortified formula
    4th most babies after 6 months need more iron than just what is in the breast milk (and she's breastfed)

    so there is some danger in breast feeding too much after all or there can be. in our case I think if she would eat more iron rich foods and breast feed less we could correct this problem without supplements (which I understand are not the best choice) but she's nursing so much I am struggling to get the right amount of iron in her diet. any suggestions? right now i am giving her a smoothie a day that has 10mg of iron in it.

    the other possibility is that she does not have low iron at all but has thalassemia minor ( a hereditary condition my husband has). this looks like low iron in tests and is often confused with low iron if there is not extra testing done). if she has it and in fact has an okay iron level then the supplements will cause iron overload which leads to death.

    i'm kind of stressed about what to do.
     
  2. Tacey

    Tacey Well-Known Member

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    I'd be surprised if breastfeeding is to blame, as the iron in breastmilk is very bio available and less is lost through the gut lining. This from Kellymom gives some good information, and also some (surprising?) sources of iron rich food. I never knew prune juice was high in iron!

    I've not come across thalassemia minor before, but surely if it's a hereditary condition, it's worth further investigation from your doctor? I think I'd be pushing that before supplementing.

    Hope you get some answers soon.
     
  3. sun

    sun Mum of 3

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    My LOs iron levels were also low. He had a dairy allergy that he is starting to grow out of now, but up until now he couldn't stomach dairy at all. Now we are doing small amounts of yoghurt and it seems to be ok. So we were in the same boat.

    I give my son a liquid vitamin that has iron (kindervital) with his smoothie. I also use blackstrap molasses (excellent for iron) in baking (as well as supplementing some of the flour for iron-fortified oat cereal). We also eat lots of dried fruits and fruit/nut bars. I add ground pumpkin seeds to most of my baking as well for extra iron. He eats lots of homemade muffins LOL!

    Also he eats lots of beans and hummus. I will puree white beans into spreads and make it into rice/beans which he will eat. It has been hard since he doesn't eat meat either! Some cereals have lots of iron too, so I will sometimes grind them into baking too!
     
  4. babyjiva

    babyjiva 1st baby

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    hmmm, i'm confused. so do you mean she should be getting ALL of the iron she needs just from my breast milk? because it is possible that she is and that the test was showing the hereditary condition my husband has and not actually low iron.

    I read that source too. I understood it like this… that more is absorbed, but after the first 6 months a baby's iron store goes down a lot, so they are always going to need extra iron after 6 months which if you are breastfeeding they would only get from the extra food they are getting. But because my LO nurses so much, she's not eating enough solids for me to get enough of the iron in there…especially because of all of the allergies. so it's a combination of problems for us. that's why i'm trying the smoothies. i'm putting hemp protein, molasses and prune juice in them. it's amazing she drinks them.

    and yes, i really have to push for the testing of the medical condition because i worry this is still not enough iron yet i'm afraid of the supplements.
     
  5. OmarsMum

    OmarsMum Well-Known Member
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    Get her tested for thalassemia minor hun. If she's carrying it she only needs folic acid to help her body absorb the iron.

    My friend's son carries the gene from his mother. His hemoglobin is lower than normal. He takes folic acid supplement & he eats a balanced diet without cutting or increasing foods that have iron.
     
  6. babyjiva

    babyjiva 1st baby

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    thank you. does your son have a gluten allergy? my lo does. I didn't know there were iron fortified oats. can you suggest a brand. also the vitamin with iron in it, this is different than an iron supplement right? i will run both of these things by my husband. sounds great. thank you. i forsee many molasses quiona flake muffins in my LO's future. hehe
     
  7. babyjiva

    babyjiva 1st baby

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    my husband swears there is no link between thalassemia minor and low iron…other than that the hemoglobin tests shows similar and that often doctors just read it as low iron because that's the most common reason for low red blood cell count.

    i know this is getting very technical, but I wish I understood it better. the low iron I get well enough, but if she has thalassemia minor will her iron always be an issue. i see your friend's son is doing quite well so thank you for that tip. i guess now i'm wondering if my husband who has it should be on folic acid, he's not on anything :(
     
  8. sun

    sun Mum of 3

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    No my son doesn't have any problems with grains, but the iron-fortified baby cereal I buy is GF. I get it at our local health food store and it is pricey - will check out the brand name when I go get more!

    The vitamin is a liquid (Floradix Kindervital) so it is more easily absorbed than the others. It is expensive though! And tastes gross, but he doesn't seem to mind LOL. I also took the adult version of this vitamin when my iron levels went down a few months back when I was pregnant with LO#2. It works!

    Also here's a recipe for a yummy cake I made last year for LOs birthday! It is GF and I just replaced the milk/butter with non-dairy alternatives. I am making it for LOs birthday again. It won't enhance the iron or anything, but your mention of quinoa made me want to post since I am making it tonight! :haha: https://www.canada.com/life/Crazy+about+quinoa/2961804/story.html
     
  9. QTPie

    QTPie Well-Known Member

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    How about eggs? Pulses?

    QT
     
  10. Tacey

    Tacey Well-Known Member

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    I really couldn't say, as obviously a lot of factors come into play. Out of interest, was her umbilical cord cut straight away or allowed to stop pulsing first? Apparently that has some effect on iron levels. The source I linked to says 'Some babies are exclusively breastfed for a year (and occasionally up to two years) with no problems at all' so it certainly seems possible that some babies are getting enough iron through milk alone.

    It might be worth looking into at what point iron intake becomes dangerous. If she's taking a supplement on top of her normal diet, would that be at damaging levels? If not, it might be worth a try for a while, then getting her levels retested. If there's no difference, then presumably the issue isn;t with what she's eating.

    Just my thoughts though - you definitely need to discuss all this further with a doctor.
     
  11. OmarsMum

    OmarsMum Well-Known Member
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    I agree with your husband. Get her tested Hun, before worrying. If she's a carrier you can't really do much about it as low/ high iron diet wouldn't make much difference, her haemoglobin will always be lower than normal but it doesn't mean deficiency unless it's alarmingly low. If she doesn't carry it, then she might need a supplement of iron & iron rich food xx
     

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